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Studies help Stave off Blue Monday

Studies help Stave off Blue Monday

Courtesy of Simon Fraser University

Some call it Blue Monday -- the bleakest day of the year - but students enrolled in Simon Fraser University's Continuing Studies programs may be too busy to take notice when Jan. 16 rolls around.

Students like Kevin Vennesland, a business support analyst, are among hundreds of mid-career adults who have kept New Year's resolutions because of part-time diploma programs.

A British psychologist once pegged the month's third Monday as the year's most depressing. January is typically a make-or-break month for keeping resolutions, so identifying a program is a good first step, program coordinators say.

Vennesland, a North Shore resident, sought to take on more project leadership responsibilities at work and decided that education would give him the skills and credibility he needed to lead.

He began the part-time diploma in Applied Project Management at SFU Surrey in March 2011 and completed it in August, and is now seeing it pay off.

"Balancing work, life, and school was certainly a challenge," he said. "Fortunately, the convenient class schedule helped ensure that I didn't get too far behind. Practical courses, engaging instructors, and a diverse group of students made the learning experience feel more like fun than work."

"Improving life and work skills are often high on the list of New Year resolutions," notes Yvonne Tabin, the associate dean of Lifelong Learning. "At this time of the year, we're seeing many students following through on their goals and then finding greater success in their lives."

Vennesland is now reaping the benefits of more responsibility. "The program has certainly boosted my confidence and has changed how I manage projects and lead teams," Vennesland said. "And it feels great to put a big check mark next to that resolution."

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